tv U.S. Senate Sen. Collins on Coronavirus Bill CSPAN March 26, 2020 1:46am-2:05am EDT
situation likeou this. mr. president i pray you or i don't have to face with a face on the front lines. we should go forward and pass this bill. i ask with full statement be included in the record. >> without objection. floor i suggest the absence of a quorum. >> mr. president i see the senator from maryland is on the floor. i think he is performing if youan would like to go first. >> i am grateful, thank you but i am happy to have you go first. >> thank you. mr. president all across the country americans are stepping up in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
those that are working endless hours to care for the surgeon patients. many companies in my state are working overtime to produce medical testing with ventilators and personal protective equipment, all of which are vitally needed. truckers are going above and beyond so they can deliver goods needed to restart the depleted grocery shelves. people are working on - - looking out for their neighbors and making personal sacrifices to help present one - - prevent the virus from
spreading to vulnerable members of society. on the horizon for small businesses and facing the economic devastation through no fault of their own. mr. president i have talk to small business owners all across our state including small mom-and-pop businesses. many for the first time ever in three generations they have had to close their doors. they had no choice. as i was told earlier this week through tears that they have never been unemployed.
the sun is unemployed. the friends who worked with us to have had the steiner four years are unemployed. mr. president, the agreement finally reads today includes a $377 billion of this economic relief plan that senator rubio, senator cardin, senator shaheen and i authored along with a small business task force. it is intended to help workers and small businesses just like the one owned by this family. and to work day and night to get the bipartisan package included in the broader legislation.
and i want to do was shout out to our staff because i don't think they have been to bed before 4:00 a.m. in the morning any day and the last week. that is so hard they have worke worked. under our bipartisan approach, small businesses areel eligible for a 100 percent federally guaranteed emergency loan as well as certain expenses with utilities. if they keep their employees on the payroll, the loans would be completely forgiven. this is how it would work. one with 500 employees would be in eligible to apply. in order to be available
immediately through existed certified lenders including certain banks or credit unions and other financial institutions. and streamlined to bring other additional lenders into the program. the loans would be tied to a formula based on the small business and that goes back to february 15 when it came to but then to issue those paychecks which keep in mind
that those will get their health insurance as well. the portion of the loan used to cover payroll and interest rents and utility is also forgiven.fu furthermore to states like those of the presiding officer have large numbers of tourists coming each year for the additional wages paid to sucho employees. workers have already lost their jobs due to this crisis can be rehired and paid under the program and that should be our goal. mr. president this vital assistance cannot come one moment too soon.
there are so many small businesses that have already shut down or are on the verge to do so. they are trying to hang on just a little longer to in many cases they are members of their own family. so with that, we face the unemployment but this would also take massive toll on the federal budget far exceeding this $377 billion we f are using but what we want is to make
sure those small businesses survive. they are here when we transcended the crisis and their employees are able to come back to work for them. we don't want to break that link, that connection. we don't want those small businesses to shatter their doors forever. but with a permanent job loss for the workers that are so much part of their business. and then to be eligible of a certain loan so now to be
required to repay the loans in full. and i i want to make clear that these large businesses are from stock buybacks and increasing executive pay for the duration of the loan. and i fully support those restrictions. of course many small businesses don't have shareholders so the stock buyback definitely fits. i'm also pleased to say we would cover the sole proprietor and the independent contractor many individuals that we rely upon to make the economy work.
mr. president not only to begin along with members from other coastal states but $300 million to assist workers andpo businesses to support thousands of jobs in the great state of maine. with fishing communities and culture operations and businesses would be eligible for the $300 million of assistance that will provide direct relief payments. this targeted relief will help ensure the assistance is
provided. >> more than $30 trillion school districts and colleges and universities that help them to support remote learning and meet the needs of their students. so i will take a moment to recognize the dedication of both teachers, administrators, food serviceri workers and bus drivers who not only make sure that students have access but that they have access to meals
and to provide those meals such as delivery and prepackagedtl meals delivered to their home so they will not be hungry. we don't know how important with the cold lunch program to the low income families. and then to make a very tough decision to send students home for the semester and then the travel buddy program there are
things in the software and hardware infrastructure to have classes online quickly. but even more than that the university of maine has partnered with the states to prepare dorms and facilities for emergency use of necessary. so colleges and universities aid is needed to help these institutions. also the aid through student loans that also would be very helpful. this agreement mr. president, is not only a lifeline for workers and small businesses, it builds from the
previous two packages that congress has a passed to promote the health and safety of americans. and make substantial investment of the health system with biomedical research and education including a 130 billion-dollar infusion for hospital and healthcare providers that are struggling to cope with the influx of patient patients. it authorizes an $11 billion catalyst toward the development of an effective vaccine and therapeutics, effective treatments for those struck by this virus. it provides a billion dollars for community services block grants to support critical social service programs for millions of low-income individuals. it gives the centers for disease control additional funding to enhance its vital work.
it is communities responding to greater services with an increase of $5 billion for community development block grants. that comes from the subcommittee that i chair. it helps with transit systems. there's widespread help for those who are homeless or among some of the most vulnerable in our population. it strengthens the low-income home heating assistance program. that's something that senator jack reed and i have long worked together on. we don't want families and seniors making impossible choices between heating their homes and buying food or medicine. this package also contains two additional pieces of legislation that i've introduced and championed. first it contains provisions from the mitigating emergency
drug shortages or meds, legislation i author thad will help prevent a shortage of vital medications. i was shocked, mr. president, to learn that 72% of the facilities that make vital, active pharmaceutical ingredients for our market here in america are located overseas. 13% of these facilities in china. we just can't have that and we need far greater visibility into that supply system. it also contains a bill that i have long advocated for, the home health care planning improvement act. it will allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and others to certify patients as needing home health services.
now it's just a physician that can do it, even though a physician might not be the primary care provider particularly in rural areas. so that will remove needless delays in getting medicare patients the home health care that they need. that's a critical improvement at a time when our health care system is being put to the test and when people are being told they need to stay in their own homes to avoid spreading the virus. the list of benefits that will be felt in communities across the country goes on and on. mr. president, it's imperative that we pass this bill tonight. every day, more small businesses are forced to close their doors. every day, americans are losing their jobs and their income. every day, medical professionals are increasingly overwhelmed by
the exponential rise in cases. the package we are voting on to advance tonight will bolster our health care system, infuse funds into biomedical research that will ultimately produce a vaccine and effective treatments, shore up our economy and our businesses, support those who are unemployed, strengthen the length between employers and their employees, save millions of jobs of those employed by small businesses, and help prevent a devastateing recession, perhaps even a depression in this country. let us not squander this momentum when we're so close to